By Natalie Villacorta
By Natalie Villacorta
CRANSTON – Inmates suffering from substance abuse problems at the R.I. Department of Corrections women’s minimum facility now have additional support to help them recover and succeed upon re-entering the community.
The DOC announced the opening of a new recovery center inside its women’s minimum-security facility in Cranston. The name of the center – Anchor Recover Drydock – was announced at a rally at the facility on Monday, one of several Rhode Island rallies happening during National Recovery Month. Rhode Island will host the National Hub Event for celebrations taking place across the nation with the state’s third annual Rally4Recovery held Sept. 21.
“Beginning their recovery while they are still within the walls increases the probability that program participants will continue to seek recovery supports and, if necessary, treatment when they return to their communities,” said Jim Gillen, director of the center, in a press release.
The center builds on clinical treatment, helping women to make other changes in their lives that will help them avoid relapse. It fosters a community of women who share the same goals and can help one another maintain abstinence and achieve success once they leave prison.
The center is peer-based, meaning the women themselves decide what services the center provides and what events are held. They can receive group support and one-on-one recovery coaching to help them develop a plan for re-entering the community, including help finding housing, child and family support, and employment.
Inmates also can undergo 30 hours of training to become recovery coaches while they are incarcerated. After their release, they have the potential to return to the recovery center as employees.
“External recovery coaches who have histories of incarceration and substance abuse, but are now successful, send a powerful message to the women at the center, that they can succeed too,” Sara Szeglowski, grants manager for the Providence Center, wrote in an email (the Providence Center will provide the recovery coaches, as well as train former inmates to become coaches). “Lived experience and an understanding of the barriers and strengths that people in recovery face helps to provide more accessible support.”
Once the women re-enter the community, they can continue to receive support and help accessing services at The Providence Center’s other two recovery community centers in Pawtucket and Warwick.